In a sprawling interview with Rap Radar's Elliott Wilson, Jay Z spoke at length about the Trayvon Martin verdict, why George Zimmerman was acquitted, and how angry, yet hopeful, the event has made him. The talk was held in Yankee Stadium before Hov performed there with Justin Timberlake — just a day before he and Beyoncé attended a rally for Martin in downtown New York — and it features the Magna Carta MC's most in-depth comments on the case to date.
"I was angry. I didn't sleep for two days," he says regarding the verdict. "We all knew there was still a bit of racism in America but for it to be so blatant… If you just asked the questions, asked yourself the question, 'Didn't Trayvon have a right to stand his ground?' He was being chased and he fought back. He may have won. That doesn't mean he's a criminal. He won! I mean, if you chase me and you try to attack me and I defend myself, how can I be in the wrong? How is that right?
"This guy went to get some Skittles and go back to watch the all-star game. He had plans, [and] no intentions of robbing anyone's home. So, it's a thing where it's like, again, a reminder [that] we still got a long way to go. And it's beautiful. This generation right now, they don't see color in that way. We're a bit removed from those racist feelings because again, it's hard to teach racism when your child is out [at] clubs. It's integrated and the music we listen to is the same."
Wilson comments that the Jay Z/J.T. shows are a great example of that, to which Jay responds, "Exactly. All our feelings and anxieties and all that thing are more similar now. So you have hope that this generation don't see racism that way, but you still see that that old guard — that whole thing that I'm fighting against — that old guard and their old ideas and their stubborn ways and all that ego and that bullshit is still there, it still exists. You just hate to believe that."
Then he switches gears to talk about Zimmerman and the Stand Your Ground laws:
"Even a part of it has gotta be about business. They're funding George Zimmerman because they want to hold onto their guns, so the NRA…" he pauses. "Your mind can go so many places about why this verdict came down the way it came down, and we all know it was wrong. It was wrong. This guy's not a professional. First of all, you're not a professional to profile someone. Professionals are taught not to profile someone... This guy's a novice. This guy's a fucking mall cop.
"And even the law, that Stand Your Ground law. You can have a fight with someone and they're running way, you can shoot them and kill them and you're fine? What?! Come on. Come on, man. Like someone's robbing your house and they're leaving and you can shoot them on the way out? They don't [pose] a threat to you at that point. So how? How is that self defense?"
Part two of the interview is above, and fast forward to the 12-minute mark for the Trayvon discussion. Jay Z also talks about his new album, charity, Obama, the Samsung deal and much, much more. Part one is below.